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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Clippers in the Preseason

What went well, what needs to be improved on, and what made us cringe. Its the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Clippers preseason edition.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

It truly is hard to take much of significance out of preseason play, but there are things to look for, trends both good and bad, that might carry into the regular season.

The Good

No Injuries- Preseason injuries are the absolute worst, and can derail a season before it begins. The Clippers got through unscathed outside of a broken Chris Paul finger that shouldn't have too much of a negative effect. This is fantastic news for the Clips, and hopefully it is the precursor to a healthy regular (and post!) season. One of the things that might continue to prevent injuries is keeping minute totals low, especially for the big guns, and the revamped bench will be crucial in this regard.

Blake Griffin and Chris Paul- Both superstars cruised through the preseason, with Blake putting up a 17.2/6.8 line in 26 minutes per game, and Paul handing out an astonishing 8 assists in 23 minutes per contest. Neither was all that efficient, but that's not really any sort of issue. The most important thing is that both were in game shape and looked ready to go. As long as Blake and CP3 are healthy and playing as they have for the past couple years, the Clippers are hard to beat.

Austin Rivers- The placement of players into categories is not determined by play on a grand scale, but by relative expectations. Baby Doc looked more like playoff Austin than his sadder New Orleans version, and that can only be good for a Clippers team that could really use any upside it can get its hands on. As long as Austin plays solid defense and hits a reasonable amount of his shots, he will be a nice bench piece this year.

The Bad

The Clippers' big man depth- This isn't necessarily about the statistics in preseason, but one thing that jumps out when looking at the Clippers roster is the depth at the power forward and center spot, or lack thereof. Sadly, while the Clippers did add Josh Smith as the 3rd big, the only true center behind him is Cole Aldrich. Cole is awesome, but he just won't cut it if one of Blake, DJ, or Smith ever goes down. I still think a mid-season swap of a wing or guard for a big will happen because of this.

The Preseason games themselves- Every year I get super excited for the preseason and "actual" NBA basketball, and every year I get bored of it within two or three games. Everyone plays lax (as they should), we see a lot of training camp players, and obviously there are no stakes. I really wish the length of preseason was cut in half. The shorter the preseason, the quicker we can get to meaningful basketball. A shortened preseason would enable a stretched out regular season and fewer back to backs, as well as cutting that much wear and tear.

The Ugly

The Clippers' new red uniforms- I was waiting to withhold judgment on the new outfits until I saw them in action. And those red ones are just atrocious. It doesn't particularly bring the Clippers to mind (it honestly kind of reminds me of a Cubs logo) and is just plain unprofessional looking. That isn't even taking into account how the uniforms were supposedly designed. The white and blue uniforms aren't great but I think most people will get used to them. The reds are an abomination though.

Lance Stephenson and Josh Smith's shot selection- Clippers' twitter was already in a bad way in preseason. I can only imagine what will happen in the playoffs when Josh Smith lofts a 22 foot jumper with 15 seconds left on the shot clock. It will involve a lot of swearing, all caps, and much freaking out. And it will be deserved. The issue isn't in the day to day games (though those shots are always awful), but in the crucial moments when seasons are on the line: the Clippers just can't afford those looks. Josh Smith probably won't be playing in crucial minutes unless Blake or DJ is in foul trouble, but it is essential that Lance know his role and not take any of the shots that frustrated fans so much in Indiana and Charlotte. Lance is also younger and still looking for a really big payday, so it might be easier to get him to change his ways than Smoove, who has played the same brand of basketball since he came into the NBA over a decade ago. No matter, it is imperative that Lance and Josh (as well as Jamal and even Austin) curb some of their poorer attempts in favor of working the ball around or just giving it to Blake or Paul.